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and also, thursday. >> all right, one last look at the rim fire. thanks for joining us. "the nightly news" is next. >> bye-bye, see you at 6:00. ready to strike? the big debate at the white house over what to do about syria. plus, an nbc news exclusive. a doctor on the front lines there telling us what he says is really going on. state of emergency. in california, tonight an out-of-control wildfire the size of denver now raging inside of yosemite. plus, a freak hailstorm and now the threat of flash floods. a wild weekend ahead for millions. judgment day for the army major accused of a massacre at ft. hood. the deadliest mass murder on a base in u.s. history. and gift of time. there's never enough of it. and what would you do if suddenly you had the time to do all of the things you really want? "nightly news" begins now.
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>> from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. >> good evening. brian is off tonight. i'm lester holt. there is word tonight the pentagon is drawing up military options to respond to this week's atrocities in syria, as the white house comes under increasing pressure to act. those horrible images of lifeless civilians killed by what the rebels say were chemical weapons has sparked international outrage. as the u.s. officials are trying to confirm the nature of the attack, nbc news has spoken to one of the doctors on the ground treating the victims. he says the world is ignoring them. let's get right to chuck todd at the white house. chuck, iraq, afghanistan. is america about to get involved in syria? >> reporter: well, lester, it looks like in some form. the president seems to be leaning every on sending some sort of strike. the question is, what does that
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military option look like? right now that's unclear and the president's closest advisers are divided on the options that are in front of them. it is these heart-wrenching images out of syria, lifeless bodies, many of them children, allegedly victims of brutal chemical weapon attacks that accelerated the debate in washington. >> we are right now gathering information about this particular event. what we have seen indicates that this is clearly a big event of grave concern. >> reporter: just how grave becoming more clear tonight. ann curry spoke with a doctor inside syria treating some of those victims. fearing for his own life, he would not go on camera. >> died violently while sleeping and died hungry. >> doctor, after this experience, what is your message to the outside world? >> chemical weapons is a shame on the face of humanity.
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i can't imagine that the international community cannot do anything except meeting and promising. is this the truth? is this real? >> reporter: the president is considering a very narrow range of military options. boots on the ground or a no-fly zone, both are out of the question. what is on the table, limited air strikes, most likely cruise missiles launched from navy destroyers targeting key assad military command posts and while the u.s. and while the u.s. is still gathering evidence, emotions are high. >> this is quite powerful and clearly it's something that has not been faked. relationship the president said repeatedly the use of chemical weapons by bashar al assad would cross the red line. and it is the public pledge coupled with the horrific pictures that prompted senior officials to consider specific military responses, even as the president preaches caution. >> sometimes what we have seen
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is that folks will call for immediate action, jumping into stuff that does not turn out well. >> reporter: but demand to do something is growing. >> when does the united states, with very little cost, stand up for these people? >> reporter: one pentagon official told nbc's jim miklaszewski, if the president wants to send a message, we are good at sending messages. but if he wants regime change, we're not able to do that easily. key presidential aides are split of how to respond. as the internal debate about syria has developed over month, national security adviser susan rice and and denis mcdonough have urged aggressive action. dempsey expressed reluctance. secretary of state john kerry initially aggressive and softened until the latest pictures emerged and today is advocating an aggressive response. but nothing happens until there are two things that are determined. number one, that the u.s. gets actual proof that assad used
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chemical weapons. they're trying to do that and, second, they need to have a legal justification. lester, for instance, in libya, there was a u.n. resolution to enforce. here in syria right now, there is nothing like that on the table. >> all right. chuck todd leading us off tonight. thanks. now to the war at home and the shifting battle front in this season of wildfires. tonight, the massive mobilization of equipment and manpower we have been witnessing across the west the last few weeks is on the move to california and what has now become the country's most dangerous wildfire. officials say the blaze being fought at the edge of yosemite has taken top priority having just exploded in size since our report last night. miguel almaguer is there. he is surveying the destruction for us. miguel, good evening. >> reporter: lester, good evening. the moonscape here spreads for miles. this fire is massive. so far more than 106,000 acres
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have been charred, and the fire is growing larger and larger live to put that into perspective the burn zone is three times the city of san francisco. and today the blaze is moving in multiple directions. the inferno has already crept in to yosemite national park. for now have it remains some 20 miles away from yosemite valley, one of the country's greatest treasures. a wall of flames, the rim fire is on the run in nearly inaccessible terrain. it shows no sign of slowing down. overnight, quadrupling in size, the inferno is now closing in on 165 square miles. >> the biggest challenge is the fire itself. i mean, it's making its own weather. the 40,000-foot columns are just unreal. >> reporter: whipping across dried out hills, whipped by gusty canyon winds, the california governor has declared a state of emergency, opening the door for additional help.
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>> we are reaching out. canada offered up five of their crews today. >> reporter: more than 2,000 firefighters are here, but they are losing ground. even the air attacks can't slow this blaze. >> if you watch those trees spontaneously burst, it's not 1, it's 10, 15 of them, it is pretty frightening. >> reporter: we found strike team charlie, the tactical unit of 16, trying to defend their hometown. when conditions turn in firefighters' favor, like the wind right now, they are able to set backfires to make this blaze close in on itself to suffocate itself out. the work shift will last 36 hours, then a break where they will sleep in the dirt. >>you get pretty tired, but it's what you have to do. >> reporter: safety first, this is dangerous, even deadly work. >> why didn't you put firefighters down there and i say, why didn't you put your children down there? would you? >> reporter: evacuations continue in towns near yosemite national park. 4500 homes are threatened.
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one campground is now being closed. but in the iconic yosemite valley, 20 miles away, tourists enjoy views of half dome. >> awesome. >> gorgeous. we were coming to yosemite no matter what happens. >> reporter: still, there are warning signs everywhere. mother nature's beauty is threatened by her fury. tonight, fire officials tell us several communities are in immediate danger. as a matter of fact, this afternoon, they are worried they will lose homes. this blaze is roughly 2% contained and cost $5 million to fight so far. lester? >> miguel, thanks. putting this all in perspective for us. the fire danger continues in to the weekend across a huge part of the country where suddenly it is like the wild, wild west. a massive dust storm, a freak hailstorm and new flash flood warnings tonight, all hitting at once. for more on that, we go to meteorologist jim cantore at weather channel headquarters. hi, jim. >> hey, lester. how are you doing? you know, the important thing about california right now, we haven't even gotten into what is known as the santa ana season
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for southern california. so you don't see many red dots. in through here. all of these dots represent all of the large fires out there, the dozens of large fires out there. but as we get in to this weekend, a deep surge of tropical moisture will come north, across the west. it won't get in the fire zones, unfortunately. it may help a couple of these, but we don't think it will help many. look at this. locally 2 to 3 inches of rain. you may not think that is much but there are some places in california and arizona that get 2 to 3 inches in a year, so this is a tremendous flood threat for the west. let me show you the kind of weather that accompanies moisture once you get it into the west. littleton, colorado, this is a storm that got up to eight to ten miles high. instead of producing rain, when it collapsed, it produced hail and tons of hail, enough it had to be removed by snowplows in littleton, colorado. off to yuma, arizona, no rain or no hail here. we're actually talking about dust that fell and was pushed from these storms because basically as these storms
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collapse, the air below it is too dry. so as we go hurricaneless in the atlantic basin, a serious tropical flood threat for the west this weekend and beyond. >> jim cantore, thanks. army major nidal hasan, the former army psychiatrist on trial for a shooting rampage at ft. hood has been found guilty by a military jury. it didn't take long. less than seven hours of deliberations over two days. nbc's mark potter was at ft. hood, texas, tonight with more. mark, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, lester. the trial that was emotional for the victims' families took three weeks. in fewer than seven hours, the jury found nidal hasan guilty of all charges. [ sirens ] the verdict comes nearly four years after the shooting rampage at a ft. hood medical processing center. major nidal hasan who admitted he was the gunman was found guilty of all 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of premeditated attempted murder.
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as the verdict was read in court, hasan, acting as his own lawyer, showed no emotion. prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. 16 family members representing the murder victims will be allowed to address the court and hasan. >> i think it is also important that these victims finally have the opportunity to express to this jury the magnitude of the suffering that he inflicted on them and the way he destroyed their lives. >> reporter: hasan paralyzed in the shootout put on no defense case, but at sentencing, he is expected to speak. he has already said he switched sides to protect islam and leaders of the taliban. >> there is a religious, and a political component to it and in his case, a personal, moral component to it. >> reporter: during the trial, prosecutors presented 89 witnesses, many of whom gave graphic accounts of the bloody massacre. one told of hearing army private first class francheska velez
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screaming, my baby, my baby, my baby before she was killed. prosecutors say hasan carefully planned the attack and fired 150 rounds inside the army medical building. if hasan is sentenced to die and his case survives the lengthy appeals, legal experts say he could become the first soldier executed by the military in more than 50 years. lester? >> mark potter tonight, thanks. also, a u.s. soldier who massacred 16 afghan civilians last year was sentenced today to life in prison without parole. staff sergeant robert bales pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty. even though he got the harshest sentence possible, it was deeply dissatisfying to the afghan villagers who were wounded or lost loved ones. solve of them traveled nearly 7,000 miles to washington state to make sure justice was served, and tonight they say it was not. tonight there is late word from san diego where embattled mayor bob filner, facing allegations of sexual harassment
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from at lesat 18 women, has resigned. nbc's joe fryer joins us with details. joe, good evening. >> reporter: lester, the san diego city council has voted to accept bob filner's resignation by a 7-0 vote and that resignation is effective august 30th, which is a week from today. after the vote, filner did break his silence. he apologized to anyone he offended, to the city and his ex-fiance but he also said he never sexually harassed anyone and called it removal of mayor by rumor and innuendo. >> i think i let you down. >> reporter: the city met behind closed doors this afternoon after a public hearing. opinions on all sides of this issue but in the end they voted 7-0 to accept the resignation. a special election will now be held in the next 90 days to name san diego's next mayor. lester? >> joe fryer from san diego, late word, thanks.
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the sting is still ahead. authorities infiltrate an alleged plot to kidnap and execute police officers. tonight we've got a closer look at what the fbi calls a growing domestic terror threat to law enforcement. and later, the backlash over batman. the big announcement that set off a firestorm.
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a sting operation in las vegas is getting attention because of an alleged plot to kill police officers is part of a nationwide movement that many people may not know about. it's called the sovereign citizen movement, and the americans who are part of it reject the authority and the courts that will try them. more tonight from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: las vegas officials say the plan to detain and kill police officers was hatched by two people who claim police lack the power to make arrests. authorities charged david allen
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brutsche, age 42 and devon campbell newman with attempted murder. >> these two individuals were extremists in their believes and were actively plotting to kidnap and kill at least one southern nevada police officer. >> reporter: investigators say the two planned to follow police on patrol when an officer made a traffic stop, the two would take the policeman away to a las vegas house where the officer would be tied up and ultimately killed. newman told reporter christine kim of nbc affiliate ksnv that she is not violent. >> i never intended to harm or kidnap anyone. >> reporter: though she said the police often act without authority. >> i feel that they are going far beyond what the constitution allows. >> reporter: police say the two were members of an extremist movement called sovereign citizens. it has about 100,000 followers nationwide who believe that most of the government does is illegitimate. a routine traffic stop of a minivan three years ago the turned violent when a follower of sovereign citizens
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jumped out and began shooting. when it was over, two officers were killed. >> the sovereign believers are so loopy that a small percentage cannot control themselves and resort to violence against the police or local authorities. >> reporter: the fbi says most sovereign citizens are nonviolent, many charged with tax evasion like james turner of alabama sentenced last month to 18 years in prison. >> you can be a u.s. citizen or you can be an american but you cannot be both. it is impossible. >> reporter: the two in las vegas appeared briefly in court today challenging its authority. >> i object to the entire proceedings of this court. >> reporter: both remain in jail until a court hearing in two weeks. pete williams, nbc news, washington. we're back in a moment with an american legend. a part of so many memorable moments coming back for another season.
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♪ and we dance all night and we're all together ♪ they performed their smash hit "best song ever" in front of the biggest crowd ever to pack the plaza for a "today" show concert this morning. 18,000 screaming fans, many
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of them camping out for days to rock out with one direction, including a mom and her two daughters who waited in line since last friday. the new batman has been unmasked, and the backlash over the choice of ben affleck to replace christian bale as the caped crusader has begun. he will join a long list of batmen, some of them loved, some of them loathed, from michael keaton to adam west to george clooney, who wore what critics said was the too anatomically correct bat suit and let' just say the internet is divided over affleck's starring role in the highly anticipated "batman vs. superman" blockbuster and a petition urging the filmmakers to reconsider. apparently bat fans are passionate about who gets to play the dark knight just like there is always controversy whenever there is a new james bond. he is more than legendary. he is perhaps the finest broadcaster in baseball.
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>> high fly ball into right field. she is gone. >> reporter: you know him, that's the voice of vin scully, the play-by-play man for the l.a. dodgers and it was announced he will be back for a record 65th season in 2014. when scully, now 85, made his debut with the brooklyn dodgers back in 1950, no one on his block even had a television. when we come back here tonight, time off, a lot of it, with pay. what would you do if your boss gave you that gift?
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finally tonight, while most of us here have spent the summer working, say for maybe a week or two of vacation, a group of co-workers in minneapolis have spent their summer away from the office doing what they love. and here's the clincher, at full pay. boyd hoover, a reporter at our nbc affiliate in minneapolis, kare-tv has more on a precious gift, time off. >> reporter: another summer racing by. so many plans, so little time. >> this is creeping time. >> reporter: but for janie waldren, this summer is different.
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>> blown away, my neighbor goes, did you win the lottery or something and i'm like kind of. i sort of did. i won the time lottery. >> i think people were stunned more than anything else. >> reporter: stewart d' rozario is janie's boss at barry d'rozario murphy. after a lull, the agency gathered workers and gave them time. >> you have 500 hours of your life back. and figure out what you are passionate about and go and do it. >> come on, jake. >> reporter: kim schmidt grew up wanting a horse she never got. she spent her 500 paid hours volunteering at a horse shelter. >> hi, how are you? so why now? it's because i had the opportunity and because i was -- it was -- the the opportunity was pushed on me. >> reporter: pushed on all 18 of their employees who spent the summer traveling, making music and putting paint to canvas. steve commutes from minnesota to seattle. >> i'm on my deck. >> reporter: instead stayed home
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for the summer recording moments with his children. >> my project is basically replacing "i wish i had" with "i did." >> it's a dream. >> reporter: while talia molded her daughters into her first sculpture. >> the trust people to do something with this time. >> reporter: a few days back their 500 hours ended. the race of commerce back on. >> a growing period. >> reporter: but scattered throughout the office are subtle reminders. >> got a little blister. >> reporter: of a summer landscaping a yard. >> very rough right there. >> reporter: tending horses. >> that is underwater. >> reporter: and making memories with kids. >> my hope is now they will back, people will realize the things you wanted to do you could always be doing and find a place for in your life. >> reporter: day after day we let the sun go down on our dreams because we can't take time. maybe it's time to start giving. boyd hoover for nbc news, minneapolis. >> and our thanks to boyd and
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our friends at kare-tv for bringing us that report. that's our broadcast for this friday night. thank you for being with us. i'm lester holt in for brian. i'll see you later on "dateline," but for now, good night and have a great weekend. nbc bay area news starts now. thanks for joining us. i'm terry mcsweeney. >> we begin with the developing story, the assault from the air to control a massive fire that has now encroached into yosemite national park. want to show you the view of the rim fire now burning for six days, charring more than 165 square miles. this is the view from the ground now where the inferno is intense. the flames have now pushed into the park. and while the park is safe for now, close to 5,000 homes are in
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the line of fire. nbc jodi hernandez is live from grove land. she joins us now. >> reporter: jessica, that fire is a monster. numerous firefighters say they have never seen anything quite like this. as you look over this ring you can see all this smoke coming up. that is where the fire is burning hot and heavy tonight. we are told it is wall to wall flames out there. and as of right now, this fire is expected to just keep on growing. >> this fire is very dynamic, and this fire does have a mind of its own. the resources here have doubled. and right now, we're at 105,000 acres, plus. and we've got over 2,000 personnel here fighting the fire. >> reporter: it's been burning for six days now, but the rim fire's not showing any sign of slowing down. >> you've got terrain. you've got the heat, the try conditions. it

NBC Nightly News
NBC August 23, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

News/Business. (2013) New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 10, Syria 7, Nbc 6, U.s. 6, California 5, Nidal Hasan 3, San Diego 3, Washington 3, Minneapolis 3, Chuck Todd 2, Boyd Hoover 2, Pete Williams 2, Bob Filner 2, Fbi 2, Nbc News 2, Lester 2, Lester Holt 2, Colorado 2, Miguel 2, Joe Fryer 2
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